with Avi Spivack
Hi, I'm Avi, and I try to put the work and the dad together, with mild success. This is all about trying to give you a view from what it looks like on the dad-man's side of the world, and I hope you find my ruminations humorous because I try not to take myself too seriously.
On the heels of my inaugural post, it seems that the question I posed has been answered: There is a fine collection of other pops out there who feel that we, the fatherly clan, are indeed under-represented. And (drumroll please) the media powers that be have even bestowed the very boring “Dad Lit” label on the recent emergence of father-written books. (You likely saw Judith Warner’s post on this topic in the NY Times.)
So, of course, I have to weigh in here.
First of all, why oh why, do we need labels for everyone and everything? I understand it makes it easier for everyone to reference, but to categorize all of this writing as “Dad Lit” is quite silly. Is “Dad Lit” any book written by a father? Or does it have to focus on the nature of being a father and all of the baggage that comes with it? Warner references a collection of recent works (none of which I have yet read, cover to cover), and all of them do discuss fatherhood, so it would seem us parents of the male gender do want to be heard. We have our own set of issues and we don’t necessarily want it to be all about the mom (even though the mom does all of the initial “work.”)
Warner - in her typical candor - writes of the fact that she is actually surprised when she ends up identifying with these fathers and their experiences. But it is then interesting to read the myriad of comments from her readers, many of whom were offput by some of these mens’ writings (and it would appear that most of these comments are by women). [I am hoping to corral Neil Pollack, author of the now highly publicized Alternadad and pseudo-leader of the "Hipster Parent" movement (more on this in a future post), to do an interview for this here blog, to get a sense of what he thinks about all this.]
I find this whole literary emergence very intriguing, and as a father, I am very happy to see the media (and our culture as a whole?) begin to recognize fathers as important - because, let’s be honest, even a few decades ago, we certainly were not.
So, talk to me, besides the plumbing, what are the real differences between mom and dad - are there inherent parental instincts that women have and men don’t? Are we perhaps in the midst of a societal transformation where dads are becoming more central to the actual parenting part of the job?
Let me know what you think, and I’ll share my own story next time.
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